Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day Two: Tours and Meetings

Our second day in Haiti was primarily focused on tours and meetings.  We started off the day with a tour of the former inpatient area at Grace Childrens Hospital. 

This single infant bed was a reminder of the devastation that occurred to the building.  Fortunately there was only one death attributable to the earthquake at the facility.  The pediatric inpatient facility no longer has walls or a ceiling.  It is simply gone. 

Drs. Phelps (left) and Borgstede (right) look at x-rays that used to be hung out to dry in the former facility. 

We continued our trip over to the transitional buildings now housing both a pediatric and adult outpatient clinic as well as a new pediatric inpatient facility. 

This is part of the transitional building's outpatient waiting room. As you can see they are very busy.  There were over 100 people in this waiting area (all very patient!). 

The highlight of our morning tour was these young girls in the pediatric inpatient facility.  They sang a song in Creole welcoming us to the facility. 

I caught this youngster during meal time.  The nurse feeding her is not pictured but she is present doting over her while I took the picture. 

This young girl seemed to take a liking to me.  She and I spent about 5 minutes getting to know one another.  The cuddle cloud pictured was a gift. 

The facility, although transitional, was clean and well-planned.  We were amazed at how much GCH has done to transfer to such a nice facility in such a short time. 

The balance of the morning was spent with the rebuilding team at GCH.  They are working on a plan that will increase the former facility from 60 beds to 123 beds.  The old site will be demolished and replaced by 2015.  We talked to them about their plans for radiology and began discussing some ways the ACR Foundation might help.  They have hired a firm to assist with the reconstruction planning effort. 

The afternoon was spent with representatives of the Haitian Medical Association.  We met with the HMA president and vice president (Dr. Claudine Cleophat) who is a radiologist.  We found out that there are currently 20 radiologists practicing in Haiti.  There currently are no formal radiology residency programs however in the country.  We discussed issues related to equipment, training, distance learning, education, and regulations.  The meeting was very productive. 

I will report on more of the information gained from a very productive day.  For now, I am signing off until tomorrow. 

Day 2: Tour of GCH and Meeting with AMH

Today was an intensive day of meetings and tours.  We first took a tour of the grounds of the former inpatient area at Grace Children's Hospital (GCH).  This was a lone remaining bed left out of the rubble from the earthquake. 

We then began a tour of the transitional facility.  The facility was in excellent shape and there were lots of patients waiting to be seen.  The transitional facility houses both pediatric and adult outpatients primarily. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Arrived in Port-au-Prince

We arrived in Port-au-Prince with our hosts (seated on the left Victoria Jean-Louis and far right Melanie Yates Brierre) and enjoyed a nice lunch while going over our plans for the day.  Also present are from left Charles Phelps, M.D., Jim Borgstede, M.D., Jeanine Hatt Phelps, M.D. and Paul Ellenbogen, M.D.  We toured the ICC offices where we received a detailed report on their efforts in Haiti.  We then met with the Education team at Grace Children's Hospital before heading back to the car for our ride to the hotel.  On the way back we got a brief look at the devastation of the hospital. 

The picture shows the level of destruction left in the earthquake's wake.  While only here for a day, it is apparent that there is much work left to be done in Haiti.  The spirit of the people we have met thus far has been exceptional.  They are warmer than the 95 degree heat. 

Tomorrow we have a full day scheduled as we take a tour of the facility and see the transitional facility and work that is being done to make the hospital better than before.  I also hope to interview some of the staff that experienced the devastation first hand. 

Day in Port-au-Prince

We are up early to catch our morning flight to Port-au-Prince.  We have a busy day planned.  We will be meeting with officials at Grace Children's Hospital (GCH).  Accompanying the ACR Foundation delegation with be Charles Phelps, M.D. (TX).  Dr. Phelps has been a long-time volunteer at GCH.  He and his wife have been providing care for many years.  We will be meeting today with Dr. John Yates, a Canadian physician who has been put in charge of the rebuilding efforts at GCH.  We will be previewing the temporary facility that has been built to serve GCH's needs while the rebuilding takes place.  We hope to see a portable hybrid x-ray unit that was generously donated by Siemens at the temporary site.  The unit was shipped two weeks ago and we hope that it has arrived. 

As a long-term volunteer for UNICEF, I am very excited to touch down in Port-au-Prince.  This will be my first time assisting in the provision of humanitarian aid outside the U.S.  With over 1 million still homeless in Haiti, I am a bit apprehensive about what we'll find.  However, I am excited to have this opportunity to assist. 

I'll try to check back this evening (internet willing) to recap our first full day in Haiti. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Setting Off for Haiti

After several months of planning and delays, the ACR Foundation delgation will begin our travels to Haiti today.  We will be meeting with representatives from Grace Children's Hospital, the General (teaching) Hospital in Port-au-Prince and representatives of the Haitian Medical Association. 

We are optimistic about the trip and about meeting the goals we have established.  While we recognize there are many challenges ahead, we hope to improve the current radiological situation in Haiti.  To learn more about the ACR Foundation International Outreach Program and the Haiti Radiology Relief Fund and Program, visit